I have a varied set of trainings including two seminary degrees (M.Div), a love of languages with a BA in biblical Hebrew, Greek, and Spanish and a PhD in Latin, but along the way licensure in therapeutic massage and National Board Certified Teacher status.
I spent 8 years in parish church ministry and 32 years in various teaching positions. I worked largely with high school students, but did some of my own deepest learning with middle schoolers. I’ve taught as an adjunct in various graduate programs including linguistics, spirituality and moral theology. My path has Methodist, Catholic, agnostic, modern Druid, and Unitarian Universalist parts. All of those wisdom traditions travel with me on this journey.
I am passionate about the uniqueness of each person I work with and helping them find their way. I work with people holding the idea that what is often called “failures” are places where we can gain clarity about our journey. Working with ritual and creating ritual for specific moments on the path are deeply important to me. In fact, attention to ritual, to how we come together and make meaning as a community, is transformative work. Finding and making meaning always involves care, one for another.
I have been told by students and other people I work with that I am patient and flexible, that they feel respected and important when working with me. I know that I am not always patient and flexible, but those qualities go to the core of what I value.
Many years ago, I had a student who came to class every day mostly disgruntled and opposed to any sort of work together. We often had to step outside the classroom to talk where, over time, I developed a message. It was for me as much as for her. “I only come to work to help you be successful. I can’t do that if you are asleep. I will always treat you with respect, and I expect you to do the same for me and for yourself. Now, can we go back in and try again?” She would agree, and we would start over. We started over many, many times. She barely passed the first year, and the next year she was in my second level Latin class. Things were increasingly better, and she ended up with a B that year. She left school, suddenly with no follow up. Then, one day a few years later, I looked up from my desk, and there she stood in her Navy uniform, beaming with a smile. She came by to thank me for believing in her. And this is it: a meaningful life happens when we offer care, one to another. This is community. This is spiritual practice. This is the way of compassion.